| By Amanda Oien
|Photography by Brielle Farmer
| Video by Amanda Oien, Brielle Farmer
Shazieh Gorji was born to an Iranian family in Pakistan and, after studying ceramics in Vermont and attending culinary and baking school in Tucson, Gorji decided to make the Old Pueblo her home in 2012. Six years later, Agave Pantry was born.
Agave Pantry is a beautiful, rustic combination of Gorji’s expertise in cooking, baking and ceramics. Growing up in the East, Gorji had always used an array of spices. What started out as experiential creations for friends and family, Gorji soon began crafting blends of spices and salts to sell.
“The spice blends add an element of ritual to people's lives and beauty on the table,” Gorji said.
In addition to her spice and salt blends, Gorji bakes cookies, cakes and Italian macrons known as amarettis and hand-makes dipping bowls, espresso cups, spoons and even indigo-dyed linens.
Using her Cardamom Salt and Dukkah blend, Gorji created a colorfully festive roasted apple and squash recipe, perfect for fall and winter.
Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash with Maple Yogurt
1 large, 2.5 lb butternut squash peeled, deseeded, and diced 1.5-2”
2 green apples, Granny Smith, peeled and diced 1.5-2 “
2 tsp cardamom powder or 2.5 tsp. cardamom seeds, crushed in a mortar & pestle
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2.5-3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp Agave Pantry cardamom salt plus additional 1/2tsp. or to taste
1/2 cup yogurt
1.5 tbsp Frontier Sugarworks smoked maple syrup
1 pomegrante, peeled and seeds separated into a bowl without pith
1 tbsp. Agave Pantry dukkah blend
Preheat oven to 400 F convection and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk olive oil with spices, 1/4 tsp. Agave Pantry cardamom salt and a twist or three of freshly cracked black peppercorns.
Toss cubed butternut squash with 1.5 tbsp of olive oil and spread it on the baking sheet and pop it into the oven. Set timer for 15 minutes.
Toss the apples with remaining olive oil mixture and set aside.
In the meantime, whisk yogurt with a spoon. Never with a fork. Why you ask? Who knows, but it's what I grew up being told, and do I really do what I’m told? Only when it comes to whisking yogurt with a spoon!
Whisk maple syrup into the yogurt and set it aside. I am drawn to using smoked maple syrup from Frontier Sugarworks in Maine; they also sell a Bourbon barrel aged variety, which though I have yet to try, gather would marry well with this dish. But use whatever maple syrup you have on hand, as long as it is real maple syrup.
By now your timer should have started ringing and it's time to toss the butternut squash, add apples and give it another stir.
Set timer for 15 more minutes and periodically check on it. A knife should pierce it without struggling to pull it back out. If the knife changes its shape and smashes it, it is most certainly overcooked but still edible. At this point, you may as well mash it into a rustic mashed roasted butternut squash and continue with the next steps.
Once ready, serve it on a platter or shallow bowl. Drizzle the maple yogurt over the roasted apples and squash, sprinkle remaining cardamom salt and dukkah and finish off with pomegranate arils.